Hopewell Township has a new mayor.
The five-member Hopewell Township Committee unanimously selected Michael Ruger to serve as mayor during 2023 at the Committee’s reorganization meeting on Jan. 3.
“To my fellow Committee members, thank you for your vote of confidence. While there is a lot of work ahead of us, there is a lot to look forward to as well,” Ruger said.
He said that one of the most important duties as a Committee is to develop and deliver a responsible budget.
“I want to make sure that we are getting maximum value for every dollar of your money that is spent. In the near future, we will start to see PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) revenues that will far exceed what the township would have otherwise received in property taxes,” Ruger said.
He suggested the governing body look at ordinance changes in the coming months.
“I think our sign ordinance should be reviewed and I would like us to consider a food truck ordinance,” he said.
Ruger succeeds Committeewoman Courtney Peters-Manning, who served as mayor in 2022.
“I’m also looking forward to seek continuing work on the Senior Community Center. I am hopeful that we will see significant progress this year,” Ruger said.
“This year we may also see the first phases of construction for affordable and market rate housing move to completion.”
Peters-Manning nominated Ruger for mayor in the new year.
“It is my honor to nominate Michael Ruger for mayor of Hopewell Township for 2023. I have worked with Michael for many years now and during some very difficult times Michael always is a voice of reason,” she said.
Peters-Manning noted that Ruger has an ‘unwavering ability to break down a problem, see the problem logically, and find a way to a solution.’
“He often comes up with a creative answer that others may not have seen as a possibility. He cares deeply about equity and looks at all issues through that lens,” she said. “He always, always puts the people of Hopewell Township first.”
After taking his oath of office for mayor, Ruger nominated Peters-Manning to serve as deputy mayor for 2023.
“You have seen her successes as mayor in 2022 including leading the township to adopt a tax rate decrease, countless ordinances and improved access to public meetings to name a few accomplishments,” he said.
“Courtney actively listens to everyone, especially those who may disagree with her. I am fortunate to call Courtney not just a colleague, but a friend.”
Peters-Manning was unanimously appointed by her fellow Committee members to become deputy mayor for 2023.
“I thank you to all of my colleagues. Over the years, I have often touched on the divided times we find ourselves in, while I admit to having my jaded moments, I am still relentlessly optimistic and firmly believe it does not need to be this way,” she said.
She succeeds Ruger, who had served in the position in the 2022 year.
“We can also bridge our smaller, but no less real divisions here in Hopewell Township,” Peters-Manning said. “I hope in these divided times, we can all find a moment to focus on the humanity of all of us and to continue to grow relationships, even with those you see on the other side.”